'We see God in the silence and beauty' - Ceres mountain dweller

2017-12-29 08:30
Marlon Langeveld and his partner Anna Josephs (James de Villiers, News24)

Marlon Langeveld and his partner Anna Josephs (James de Villiers, News24)

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Cape Town – A piece of meat and a small fire was all that Marlon Langeveld, 32, wanted on Christmas morning.

"I just want to celebrate with my family and have a braai," Langeveld says standing on a hill, overlooking the Ceres valley, roughly two hours from Cape Town. 

"To spend [Christmas] with my wife Anna [and] my friends and say thank you to God for blessing me with another year – for sparing me."

Langeveld and his wife, Anna Josephs, 37, have been living in the mountains in Ceres for the past five years. 

He describes the cave they reside in as his "first true home".

With the sound of motor vehicles buzzing through the picturesque Mitchell's Pass, Langeveld describes in detail the path that led him there.

"Tik, tik, it destroyed my life… I mean, I was mad. I was drinking acid," Langeveld says laughing. 

He grew up in Cape Town and moved to Ceres after his mother died during his early teens. 

Soon he was imprisoned for trying to kill his cousin’s alleged abusive boyfriend. 

After he was released in 2012, he sought solitude in the mountains. 

"This is a place I was placed [in] just temporary [sic]… every one of us has it in us to get out," Langeveld explains.

His body glistens as he bathes himself, using a tub in the mid-morning sun. 

"As the Lord says, he will place you in places which seems impossible. It looks like a hole, but it is not. You can get out."

Metres from Langeveld and Josephs' cave, Rebekka Plaatjies, 42, and Ronald Borman, 32, who made a house using a sail as a roof, live.

Borman explains that life isn’t easy. However, living in the mountains is still better than living on the streets.

"Here we have a home. In town, we slept in the dirt. The illness crawled between us."

He explained that they get water from a tap at the foot of the mountain and use their collective income to buy enough food to feed himself, Plaatjies and his parents. 

Plaatjies works at a local small enterprise and Borman is employed as a farm hand. 

"Those cents that are left -  we buy a little bit of wine for ourselves," Borman says. 

"But we don't as much anymore - there's just no money for it."

Washing lines go from the simple concrete walls Borman built to the high rocks laying around with a few essential pieces of clothing hanging from them.  

Borman, originally from Worcester, smiles when asked if he’d move back to the town if he received a home. 

"Of course, I will," he says hurriedly. "We are not blessed to stay here, it is circumstances."

But, Borman says he’s never experienced God like he did in the mountains. 

"In the town, it's too busy and noisy and people keep on running and running," Borman says.

"But here, what you see today, here is alive. You see the animals alive but then, in winter, they go… and then you come back in summer with new life and new leaves. I see God in that... in the silence and in the beauty of it all."

Read more on:    cape town  |  good news

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